published on blogs.soas.ac.uk, 15.12.2022
Recent protests following the death of people in a blaze in Urumqi, Xinjiang’s capital raise questions about Beijing’s claimed efficacy of China’s zero-Covid strategy three years into the pandemic. According to many, recent lockdowns in Urumqi led to rescue delays to save the lives of people trapped in a building on fire. This sad event under strict lockdown measures combined with stress, anxiety, fear, insecurity, and unsafety among the majority of the population in China has led to protests across the country. Beijing’s continuous repressive and drastic zero-Covid strategy anytime new cases are declared in Chinese cities has contributed to the ire of the population vis-à-vis the Chinese government as families are disrupted, jobs are lost, and social contacts are broken, without forgetting the psychological impacts of lockdown measures to confine people in barricaded districts. This piece explores China’s zero-Covid strategy, its causes for recent public protests in major Chinese cities and its consequences for the world economy.